Living in a Winter Wonderland?
Plows, treated roads, a couple feet of snow – it’s just a typical winter in New Jersey. That’s why it can be easy to forget that winter storms can be a very serious thing – creating a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning and heart attacks from overexertion.
Make sure winter remains one of the jolliest times of year by learning about the specific hazards of winter storms and how to properly prepare for them.
Did you know…
Winter Weather Advisories are issued when snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet or a combination of these wintry elements is expected, but conditions should not be hazardous enough to meet Warning criteria. Be prepared for winter driving conditions and possible travel difficulties. Use caution when driving.
Winter Storm Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for a significant winter storm event. Heavy sleet, heavy snow, ice storms, blowing snow or a combination of these events are possible.
Winter Storm Warnings are issued for a significant winter weather event, including snow, ice, sleet, blowing snow or a combination of these hazards. Travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations. Delay your travel plans until conditions improve.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. Many NJ communities use Nixle and/or Swift911. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Create and test emergency communication plans.
- Stock emergency supplies and install battery-powered or battery backed-up carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.
- Winterize your home.
- Review your property insurance, and safeguard critical documents.
- Get trained on specific needs your family may have. Consider joining your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
- Identify a place nearby where you can safely warm up should you lose heat in your home.
- Stay indoors and off the roads. If you must drive, keep emergency supplies in your car.
- Close off rooms to consolidate and retain heat.
- Dress in layers, and use blankets to stay warm.
- Bring pets into a warm place and out of the storm or severe cold.
- Never use a generator, camp stove, charcoal grill or gasoline or propane heater indoors, as these items can start accidental fires, cause electric shock and/or cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Never heat a home with a cooktop or oven.
- Limit your time outdoors, and stay dry.
Be Safe AFTER
- Only drive if necessary. Clean all snow and ice from your car before driving, including checking the tailpipe before starting your car and checking it regularly if idling.
- Dress in warm clothing, stay dry, prevent prolonged exposure to cold and wind and avoid overexertion while clearing or shoveling snow.
- Monitor local news and alerts for emergency information and instructions.
Information taken from FEMA’s “How to Prepare for a Winter Storm”